Dr. Leon Kravaal (Boris Karloff) is a reclusive doctor who uses unusual methods, but claims to have found some incredible results. His latest research involved seeking out a cure for cancer, a subject countless others had broached, but failed to discover. But Kravaal claims to be close to a cure, a cure that could change the world and save millions of lives in the process. His methods involve freezing his patients, then thawing them after the experiment has been completed. But when authorities think he has murdered one of his patients, chaos breaks out and Kravaal is frozen by his own techniques. He is thawed ten years later by Tim Morgan (Roger Pryor), who hopes to continue the research. Kravaal decides to use his enemies as lab rats for his experiments, but he soon runs out of fresh bodies. As he looks to his new assistants for new volunteers, will Morgan wish he would have left Kravaal on ice?
A good actor can often make even a mediocre film seem better than it is. Such is the case with The Man with Nine Lives. The premise is passable, but not original by any means, while the story unfolds at a slow pace and never really gains much momentum. But thanks to the presence of Boris Karloff, the film is given a crutch and as a result, the movie offers more entertainment. Now some films have stars billed who only appear for a few moments, but Karloff has ample screen time in The Man with Nine Lives. This is a solid mad doctor movie, but it doesn’t stand out much from the others of this kind. The end sequence is creative, probably a little controversial at the time, which is always a plus. All in all, The Man with Nine Lives is a passable movie that deserves a rental, but mostly due to Karloff’s presence. Sony’s disc is bare bones, but sports a good transfer and a low price, so that provides some balance, I suppose.
Video: How does it look?
The Man with Nine Lives is presented in full frame, as intended. This is a solid, but flawed visual presentation that should please fans, though some cleanup work would have been appreciated. The print has some nicks at times, as well as grain in a number of scenes, though never to an extreme level. I saw no troubles in terms of contrast either, as black levels seem well balanced and no detail loss is visible. Aside from some expected tolls of time, this is a solid treatment and it should satisfy fans.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included audio track is not too memorable, but it provides the needed elements and has no overwhelming flaws to report. The years haven’t battered up the materials too much, as no real hiss, harshness, or distortion is noted, which is excellent news. A handful or so of minor age related flaws do surface, but they just that and as such, pose no serious threats. All the eerie sound effects stream through at full force, while the dialogue is crisp and smooth at all times, no volume troubles in the least. This disc also includes subtitles in English, French, and Japanese.